Snorkeling junkie | Puako Beach

I wish we'd found this place sooner... it was the best snorkeling experience so far.

The beach, actually a long reef that stretches from shore out toward the surf, was amazing. They say the best snorkeling is between the breakers and the outer edge of the reef, but the waves were a bit rough today, which made us nervous. So we swam back inside the reef.

We were here early, and had the place to ourselves for an hour or more. Which was good for us, beginners as we are. About the time we'd gotten comfortable swimming in shallow water, over rocks (and sea urchins), and figured out how to get from pool to pool, others arrived to share the waters. And that actually made the snorkeling better. As swimmers moved from pool to pool, the fish got more active. So we saw many more types of fish, even floated with a huge school of orange-striped silver fish for a while.

We split up and swam separately, and each of us had the thrill of swimming around a rock to come face to face with a turtle. We kept our distance, backed off when a turtle approached, and it was the experience of a lifetime. When we came in for a break, we were amazed to find we'd been in the water for three hours.

Later in the day, after our friends played golf, we brought them back here to snorkel. They weren't as comfortable snorkeling in shallow water, but when I showed them my favorite pool, and there was a turtle there, it made up for it.

The water wasn't as clear this afternoon, and the fish weren't as abundant, but seeing so many turtles napping on the rocks more than made up for it. Dave counted 14 in all, with 7 on this one rock.

We were also treated to a show put on by the humpback whales near the end of the afternoon. There were so many whales close to shore this afternoon, and we saw multiple whales breach. I've never seen a whale come completely out of the water before, slamming down and sending twin walls of water into the air. It was amazing to see, and I wish I had photographs.

I also wish we had time to come back once more, before we leave.

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